Pushing the Boundaries - Inspirational Artists

In addition to making art and building a cohesive body of work,  I want my art to keep getting better.     In her book  "The Creative Habit"  Twyla Tharp says .....  "My heroes are artists whose bodies of work are consistently surprising, consistently fresh"    ......  Now that's something to aim for!!

To help push the boundaries,  I've been looking for inspirational  artists using similar techniques to the ones I use, but working in different mediums ...... so I thought I'd share what I find in a series of posts.

This week I've been stitching the blue pieced monoprints I made recently.  I love the intuitive nature of the printing process and the way shapes emerge/disappear through the layers of printing.  So I started looking at artist working with print .....

I discovered  Elizabeth Banfield,  an award wining Australian artist who works with linocuts and prints on very fine Japanese paper.  The results are breathtaking and totally unlike anything I've seen before!!!  Here is an example I found on the web .......

                                                      'Lament' by Elizabeth Banfield                                   Linocut on two layers of tissue paper with hand stitching

                                                      'Lament' by Elizabeth Banfield

                                  Linocut on two layers of tissue paper with hand stitching

Click HERE for  a link for Elizabeth Banfield's  website.  Her gallery of art work and  her step by step instructions for making prints with linocuts are well worth a look if you are tempted to try your hand!

Thanks for dropping by .....  CC

"Draw" Exhibition Invitation

The drawing class I go to is having an end of year exhibition at the local Regional Gallery.   We've started planning and getting our work ready .... a great learning experience for me.

I volunteered to put together an Invitation/Flyer for the group.  This week,  I worked out 4 designs/layouts and the class members voted .... 

This is the design that they chose.....

DrawingInvite.jpg

I am very happy that my teacher is going to let me include my Mangroves textile piece in the exhibition ... it was inspired by trip the class made to the Mangrove walk at Huskisson  and the drawing work  we did.

It will be fun seeing how it all comes together .....

Thanks for dropping by .....  CC

Grevillea Series #2

This week I've been working on stitching the second Grevillea  piece ....   the applique and the quilting stitches .....

                                                              Stitching  "Grevillea 2"

                                                              Stitching  "Grevillea 2"

It's all come together well with no dramas, even with the layer of printed organza.  Using reverse applique for the background has meant there are not too many layers to stitch through!!  Here is the result ................

       "Grevillea 2"       © CarolynCollinsArt 2016    16" x 20"   Hand dyed and printed fabric

       "Grevillea 2"       © CarolynCollinsArt 2016    16" x 20"   Hand dyed and printed fabric

I'm happy with this piece  ....  although I can see things I could do differently!!   So there  is definitely another piece to follow ..... its a Series thing!!!  

Just the backing and facing and a "name"  for the piece to go ....

Thanks for checking out my new work .....  CC

More Monoprinting ....

I've had inspiration about some monoprints I made recently ....  

After the first series of monoprints which I framed as individual prints,  I tried printing a larger piece of fabric with the idea that I would cut it up and work with the smaller pieces.

Nice idea but I still wasn't sure where I was going with these monoprints  .... till I was sorting out some of my hand dyed fabric and found some pieces that seemed just right  .... and here is the result .....

The red brown strip was initially a bit stark so I added some paintstik rubbings to soften the effect ....  I'm very pleased with the result so now for the quilting !!!

In fact I was so pleased thought I'd do a little more monoprinting .....

MonoprintGreen1.jpg

So I'm looking for green fabrics  ......

Thanks for dropping by  ....   CC

More Reverse Applique

This week I've been working on two new pieces for the Stepping Stones Series.  

I love stitching the reverse applique and with these new pieces I decided to put the horizon line behind the applique ... like a landscape within a landscape .....

Part way through the applique process,  I wondered what if I only reveal part of the landscape and left some of the stepping stones in the top fabric ... and stitched the stepping stones shapes but without revealing the landscape beneath .

Here is the finished result .....

                 Stepping Stones Series # 12  ' Open Road'  12"x12"   © CarolynCollinsArt 2016

                 Stepping Stones Series # 12  ' Open Road'  12"x12"   © CarolynCollinsArt 2016

Tried a reversal of the color combination for the second piece .......

      Stepping Stones Series #13  ' Over the Hills ....'   12" x 12"   © CarolynCollinsArt 2016

      Stepping Stones Series #13  ' Over the Hills ....'   12" x 12"   © CarolynCollinsArt 2016

I'm off to stitch this second piece ....  Thanks for dropping by   CC

New Work .... Mangroves

This week I've finished the quilting and facings for the Mangroves piece .......

Happy with the end result .... enjoyed the quilting .....

but can see refinements for the construction process ....  so on to the next mangroves piece!!  

Thanks for dropping by .....  CC

Grevillea Inspiration and Design

I love the Grevillea flowers in my garden this time of year  .... I've  been taking more  photos 

and have been comtemplating a number of different design options  ....

My first effort looked quite interesting on the design wall but turned into a disaster when it came to stitching the design ........ too many layers of fusible and fabric for my machine to handle - I used the leaf print on organza for the background and this may have contributed to the stitching problem ....

For my second effort,  I decided to rework the design and  use reverse applique to reduce the number of layers to stitch through and then add applique shapes   ... much happier with this version ....... though the design still needs some work .....

I'm going to try some new compositions for the next piece in this series ....

Thanks for dropping by    CC

 

Australia Wide Five & Art Studio Re-organised!!

This week  I am celebrating some achievements ...... 

Firstly, the OzQuilt Network, Australia Wide Five Exhibition opened at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries,  64 Wittenoom St Bunbury on Friday 23 September and runs to Sunday 6 November 2016 before continuing on tour.  The gallery is open daily from 10am to 4pm and entry is free.

My piece 'Forest Pansy' is part of this Exhibition.  Click here to see all of the fabulous work that will be on tour.

Secondly .....  its done!!  After the delivery disaster earlier in the month, I took the opportunity to revisit the plans for my studio and decided to 'keep it simple'!!!  

Feels so light and spacious now and there is room for all the important things ... including a spot for my devoted poodle!!!  Now I just have to deal with the chaos in the spare room!!!

So it's back to work ....   

Thanks for dropping by .....   CC

 

Translation to Fabric

Its the end of Term 3 of drawing class and I've been looking over the work we did.  

Two classes stand out because they lots of fun and because I am thinking the approaches used could translate into fabric and make very interesting backgrounds

The first involved an excursion to a local creek and walking track ....

.....  here we collected natural materials from around the site .... grasses, bark, twigs, stones and seedpods ..... whatever took our attention and these were laid on our paper ... to act as natural stencils.  We sprinkled them with graphite powder and then sprayed with acrylic inks and then left them to dry before drawing the landscape using just charcoal and sanguine.

This dual connection between the found materials and the landscape produced some lovely results.  Here is my effort .. doesn't look too much like the actual landscape!!! 

The second class that offered  translation potential involved 4 panels and 4 compositions made up of shapes and inspired by  foliage of our choice .

Each panel had to work as a composition as did the combined panels.  

Dark and light tones were added and then combinations of color to provide the mid tones.

This process produced some very interesting abstract compositions that seem to have the potential to translate easily into fabric.

I  chose Magnolia leaves for the foliage and was very pleased with the composition of shapes in the 4 panels.  Here is my work so far..... although not happy with the colors however I can see potential ....

I'm keen to try some more  combinations and variations of tone and color and over the break  will experiment with these ideas and see where it leads....... 

 

 

 

What's in a Name? .... and the SAQA Oceania Blog Hop

This is my donation to the 2016 SAQA Benefit Auction ....

What's in a name?  

'High Road'  was made a part of a series I have been working on over the last 12 months or so, called 'Stepping Stones'.  This series was inspired by some crazy paving in my garden and uses reverse applique, a technique I really enjoy.

After sending in my auction piece I received an email from Martha Sielman  ... she liked the effect  but wanted to know why I'd called it "High Road"?

So let me show you a couple of the other  pieces in the series ..... 

 
        ' Green Hills'  Stepping Stones #4

        ' Green Hills'  Stepping Stones #4

      'Winding Way'  Stepping Stones #3

      'Winding Way'  Stepping Stones #3

For me,  this series is an opportunity to explore color combinations, design and horizon lines.   

When it came to the SAQA Benefit Auction piece I thought .....what if the top edge of the composition becomes the horizon line ... high horizon line ... "high road"  .... made perfect sense to me!! 

The process of making these pieces involves layering the 'road'  fabric beneath and then cutting away the top fabric as I applique the design. Once this step is complete, the hills/horizon line and sky are added and then lots of quilting.   In these small pieces the applique is done by hand. For lager pieces I use machine applique/reverse applique.  Most of the pieces in this series are mounted onto a painted or fabric covered stretched canvas.

More recently I have been exploring using different textures ... a painted background and using text ....

   ' Written Road'  Stepping Stones # 11

   ' Written Road'  Stepping Stones # 11

 
    'Painted Road'  Stepping Stones #10

    'Painted Road'  Stepping Stones #10

The auction will kick-off at 2pm EDT on September 16 with Diamond Day bidding - and early bird opportunity to purchase any quilt for $1000.  The 12" x 12" Auction Quilts will be divided up into three sections for bidding purposes.  Each week, a different section of quilts will be available for bidding, starting at $750 and further reduced throughout the week.

'High Road'  will be included in Section 3  which is open for bidding from 3 -9 October.

If you've missed some of the earlier participants in this Blog Hop,  I can recommend having a look.  Here is the link to the  SAQA Oceania Blog Hop

We've saved the best till last ...  don't miss Lisa Walton's posting in this Blog Hop on 14 September 2016  at  www.firbreinspirations.blogspot.com

 

 

Studio Re-organisation ...... Not!

I was planning to show you my newly re-organised studio today .... however,  when the new desk I had ordered,  to make the best use of the space I have,  was being delivered last week, it slipped, dropped and broke in two!!!  so they took it back to the depot and I have nothing to show!!  The studio is feeling very spacious!!!

Instead, let me tell you about a new piece  I am starting to work on ....

I have always been fascinated by the Grevillea that grows in my garden, and it's in full bloom right now.  So I've been taking lots of photos .....

The challenge is to capture the wonderful color and form of this flower!  I've been sketching some layouts and have an idea of how I might be able to bring it together.   Thought I would start with a small piece 10"  x 12"  to see how it works in practice!  I tried printing with the Grevillea leaves during my latest printing session so I'm hoping that will work as the background to the piece.  Will let you know how it progresses .....  

Thanks for dropping by   CC

New Art in the Stepping Stones Series

This week I've been working on a new piece in the Stepping Stones Series ....  I love this series because it allows me to play with design and color combinations.

In the last piece I included a streak of contrasting blue ......

                 © Carolyn Collins 2016 " Written Road"   Hand dyed fabric  12" x 12"  

                 © Carolyn Collins 2016 " Written Road"   Hand dyed fabric  12" x 12"  

This time I've gone a bit further and used a contrasting fabric as the background for the reverse applique.....

               © Carolyn Collins 2016  " River or Road?"   Hand dyed fabric  12" x 12"

               © Carolyn Collins 2016  " River or Road?"   Hand dyed fabric  12" x 12"

The quilting is well underway .....  it looks so different in this photo of the work in the machine, an entirely different perspective!

                        © Carolyn Collins 2016  "River or Road Detail"  

                        © Carolyn Collins 2016  "River or Road Detail"  

I'm not sure whether this is a blue road or twin rivers??  I'll think about it while I get on with the quilting!  Thanks for stopping by ....  CC

Facings, Framing and Mounting on Canvas?

This week has been all about finishing work ... think I have the facings sorted but I've found some challenges when it comes to mounting work on stretched canvas and framing work!  I decided to mount LeafLines #20 on a stretched canvas for the exhibition  at the GCS gallery in Sydney.  While I've been using stretched canvas for my Stepping Stones pieces ... LL #20 is significantly larger!  so I've had to resolve some  challenges  ....  

-  getting the paint color for the canvas right -   I want it to blend in with the work ... in the end my trusty  '3 in 1 Color Tool'  provided the key to color mixing;

- how much stitching is required to hold the work on the canvas securely?  -  I used mounting tape to hold the piece in place and then I have stitched around the edges - so we will see!! 

- how to finish the back of the canvas and cover the staples and painted edges -  I found a framing tape and have used that to finish the back.

With LL#20 sorted I turned to the monoprints I made earlier this year.  I have quilted them on a base of white felt.

 I have been searching for a way to present them ....  I tried a traditional mounting and frame  but I think these pieces will look better without a mounting or a finished edge .... so I've tried 'floating' the quilted print over a background ......  here are two of my experiments ....

The blue background is too distracting but I like the simple white on white .....

 

 

 

 

Having reached a decision about these prints  ....  I felt like I was on a roll ......

 

 

 

 

 

So I pulled out a number of small landscapes  5" X 8"  that  have been hanging around  and tried a similar approach .......  for this one I think the pale blue background is a plus ........

It feels good to have sorted this framing out - but  I'm still on the trail of fresh ideas for presenting my work .....

Thanks for dropping by ...............................CC

Reunions and Reconnecting with Grace

Last year I attended a school reunion (for the first time !) ...  thanks to the encouragement of a good friend from school days.  The lunch included a tour of the school.  While it was fun to catch up with some of my old school mates .....  I was very impressed by the fantastic new facilities, not the least of which is an art gallery that has been set up in one of the old boarding houses!  

The gallery is the Grace Cossington Smith Gallery at Abbotsleigh on the Pacific Highway at Wahroonga and was established in 2013 with the intention of providing an on-site educational resource for the School. Opening the gallery to the public provided the opportunity to engage with a wider community.  

This year that engagement has led to .......

I am delighted that one of my art quilts will be included in this exhibition,  not only because it is associated with my old school but also because of the connection to Grace Cossington Smith after whom the gallery is named.  Grace was  also an  "old girl", one who lived and worked for many years in the same area of Sydney where I grew up and whose work, especially during the 1950's and 1960's, is an inspiration!

 In this period " Grace Cossington Smith came to realise her aim: to express form in color - color within color, vibrant with light"  Grace Cossington Smith: A Retrospective Exhibition, National Gallery of Australia 2005.

 If you haven't come across her work it is well worth a look.  One of my favorites is 'Interior in Yellow'  1964 ...... google it! 

The 2005 Retrospective Exhibition biography by Deborah Hart concludes with the following observation .....

" It is ultimately Cossington Smith's steadfast resolve to be true to herself in her art, to experiment and evolve at her own pace, revealing a depth of feeling for the world around her, a sense of adventure and a faith in the spirit underlying all things - ' the golden thread running through time' - that makes her one of the most brilliant artists of her generation."

Something to strive for!

 

Mangroves on the Design Wall

A while back I posted about drawing in the mangroves and contemplated the possibilities  of translating the sketch into fabric ....  well I've been working on the idea and after playing with the possibilities for a while,  I finally have some ideas up on the design wall,   just pinned at this stage ....

It still needs lots of work, but after looking at the black and white version I think its taking shape nicely.  Looking at the value placement in the composition really helps me to see how its working and how my eye moves across the piece .... not always so easy to see in full color!

I haven't yet decided on the final format for the piece .... I'm contemplating whether to add strips to top and bottom .... although this long thin landscape format looks good in this post ...... what do you think?